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 		 [ Garment and textile workers are organizing to improve their pay.
They are amongst the least paid in the country, often earning less
than $1.00 per day.] [https://portside.org/] 

 PORTSIDE LABOR 

 ETHIOPIAN UNIONS PITCH FOR MINIMUM WAGE IN GARMENT SECTOR  
[https://portside.org/2018-05-17/ethiopian-unions-pitch-minimum-wage-garment-sector]


 

 Umer Beigh 
 May 15, 2018
Dawn News
[http://www.thedawn-news.org/2018/05/15/ethiopian-unions-pitch-for-minimum-wage-in-garment-sector/]


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 _ Garment and textile workers are organizing to improve their pay.
They are amongst the least paid in the country, often earning less
than $1.00 per day. _ 

 , 

 

Unions in Ethiopia are attempting to mobilize textile and garment
workers, who are facing a massive wage crisis – most of the workers
are forced to work under twenty Ethiopian Birr (ETB) per day, which is
less than one dollar. The 600 or so ETB, which a large section of the
country’s workers earns monthly, are hardly enough to meet their
minimum needs.

The condition of the workers has worsened since the political crisis
of 2017, when hundreds of people were killed during protests
[http://www.thedawn-news.org/2016/08/25/protests-strike-ethiopia/] that
rocked the country, leading to a state of emergency for the past 10
months. Regional businesses and the transportation sector have been
immensely affected during this period, further adding to the misery of
these workers, who live on the margins of society.

The unions have been campaigning against the law wages and issues
related to health care and education.

The attempts at mobilization have led to more than six hundred
thousand workers associating themselves with Confederation of
Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETD). Many of them are employees of outlets
of international brands such as H&M, Tchibo, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin
Klein.

CEDT Foreign and Public Relations Incharge, Measho Berihu noted
[http://allafrica.com/stories/201805010433.html] “… the
confederation and the workers are exposed to various challenges. For
instance, the absence of minimum wage has particularly affected
workers of private organizations as some are now working for the
lowest salary in the country. Apart from this, the salary scale lacks
uniformity from company to company.”

Similarly, a campaign run by IndustriALL Global Union is targeting
industrial parks set up by the government headed by Abiy Ahmed
[https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/03/ethiopia-eprdf-picks-abiy-ahmed-leader-180328145522715.html],
including Bole Lemi in Addis Ababa, where South Korean garment
manufacturer Shints employs 4,300 workers, of whom 3,800 are union
members.

“Unions see minimum wages as a starting point in reversing the low
wages and are demanding that they be included in the new labour laws
under consideration. Eventually, the unions want to shift the campaign
to living wages, the union stressed
[http://www.industriall-union.org/ethiopian-textile-unions-campaign-to-end-poverty-wages].

The IndustriAll Global Union further noted that the unions are
campaigning for minimum wages above 3,373 ETB ($121). “Current wages
average below $50 a day,” it added.

Christina Hajagos-Clausen, IndustriALL’s director for the textile
and garment sector, said she fully supported Ethiopian unions on the
campaign for minimum wage. “We are promoting global framework
agreements in the sector to stop global brands from exploiting cheap
labour in developing countries. Living wages can lift workers out of
poverty,” she added.

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